A Study in the Word – Isaiah 63:1-64:12

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Because He is Lord over all believers and unbelievers alike, God determined that unbelievers have a different destiny than the remnant. Edom’s judgment is an example (63:1). The price is terrible and exacted by the work of God alone (63:2-3). The Day of the Lord will “redeem” this determination (63:4-5), and it is a complete work (63:6).

The other side of the Day of the Lord is salvation. The remnant praises the God who saved though His goodness and many acts of mercy (63:7). They acknowledge His saving compassion (63:8). He will be one with them in suffering, but through suffering the faithful will be saved (63:9).

Such faith was not always the case. They had “grieved” His Holy Spirit, for which He became angry (63:10). Then the remnant remembered He acted in similar fashion against Israel in the days of Moses (63:11). God’s past provided a foundation for trust in the present. Corporate memory of that event allows them to retrace their history in step-by-step fashion from slavery to freedom (63:11-13). The same Spirit who led Israel out of Egypt still stands available to bring glory to the Lord again (63:14).

The remnant calls upon God to show compassion (63:15). Abraham’s faithfulness is forgotten in Israel and the present majority in Israel rejects the remnant (63:16), so the remnant in desperation brings their petition to God (63:17). Their situation indeed does look desperate, but it is not hopeless (63:18-19).

Their prayer continues in chapter 64 in an appeal to the unsurpassed power of God (64:1-2). They acknowledge that circumstances never control God, so they must wait in trust until He decides to act (64:3-4). Waiting is difficult, but reflecting on the fact that salvation is totally undeserved encourages waiting (64:5). They realize their sin is pervasive and stifles worship (64:6-7a), blinding them to God (64:7b).

Nevertheless, awakening comes (64:8). Then they see God as their Father and creator and that they really are absolutely dependent on Him. Since His anger is overwhelming, they confess their great need for His mercy (64:9). Destruction of homes, lands, and temple bore graphic testimony to the power of His anger when He sent them into exile (64:10-11). Will His anger ever end? Will the God who is worshipped as their Father and confessed in His power withhold His anger and help them (64:12)? Their prayer does not presume the answers. Prayer never does.

Dr. David Moore is a Baptist preacher in Pampa and an online instructor in Bible and theology for Taylor University and Nations University. Email: dm5867se@outlook.com

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